"Hope rather than expectation" - FC Halifax Town v Chesterfield: Opposition Focus

We spoke to Liam Norcliffe from the Derbyshire Times for the lowdown on FC Halifax Town's opponents on Tuesday.

By Tom Scargill
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 12:37 pm

How have Chesterfield been doing of late?

It is fair to say the Spireites have stuttered into the play-offs. They have lost three and drawn one from their last four, won one in five and two in 10 and not scored a single goal in their last three. They just managed to hold onto seventh spot with an uninspiring goalless draw at home to Woking on the last day of the season. That clean sheet was their first in 10. It doesn't make for great reading.

How is mood and morale in the camp ahead of the game?

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Chesterfield

I think Chesterfield will go into the play-offs in hope rather than expectation. There's certainly a different feel to it compared to last season where it felt really exciting. I think most fans are resigned to another season in the National League but, as the game draws nearer, perhaps a bit of optimism might creep in. It's the hope that kills you, as they say.

Is there any chance Kabongo Tshimanga might be back for the match?

According to Cook, no. Tshimanga will play no further part this season. There was talk of a potential appearance in the play-offs but that seems to be dead in the water now. Spireites fans will now be wondering whether he has played his last game for the club with several teams being linked with a move for him.

What is your style of play under Paul Cook, what can Halifax expect to come up against?

I couldn't tell you! In all seriousness, Cook wants to play an attacking, aggressive, front-foot style of play but the players have not really adapted to it. Interestingly, after playing a back three for a few weeks, Cook went with his favoured 4-2-3-1 against Woking and he says he intends to stick with that in the main now. It got them their first clean sheet in two months, but the fluidity and creativity at the top end of the pitch was still lacking.

Would you consider Halifax to be favourites for the game?

Absolutely! Anything can happen in the play-offs, I suppose, but with Halifax having the best home record in the league, combined with Chesterfield's dreadful form, I think the writing is on the wall. Perhaps Chesterfield can use the 'underdog' tag to their advantage, but I would be very surprised if they advance into the semi-finals.

Who will be your dangerman on Tuesday and why?

Tough one...they haven't scored in three! But I'd have to say Danny Rowe, who is now back in the fold after not playing since October due to a health issue. He played 90 minutes against Woking so that was a big plus. On his day, he has that bit of class to score from distance or open up a defence.

Injuries/suspensions?

Gavin Gunning, Joe Quigley and Akwasi Asante all missed the Woking game. Curtis Weston had to come off in the second-half as well. Cook said they would have to wait and see if any of them can be fit for Tuesday. If they are, Quigley or Asante could start up front with Rowe.

Likely line-up and formation?

(4-2-3-1): Loach; King, Williams, Grimes, Whittle; Weston, Kellermann; Mandeville, Rowe, Khan, Asante/Quigley.